Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Eye checks

When The Lady up the boys from school a few days ago, their teacher asked if we'd had B2's eyes checked recently (we had). She said that when she was writing some things on the board, he had been standing up at his desk and leaning forwards. When she'd asked him what he was doing, he'd said that he couldn't see the board.

At home, The Lady asked him why he'd been standing up. “Because I can't see the board”, he said.

Why can't you see the board?”, The Lady pursued.

B2 replied, “Because Robbie James is too tall!”



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mulled wind

I rarely drink alcohol -- but for some reason a co-worker and I were discussing wine.  I'm pretty ignorant as to the different types.

He asked if I'd ever had mulled wine.

"Hm!" I replied, brow furrowed and hand reflectively to my cheek.  "Let me think about it..."



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The one I would buy

Thus far, I've never spent more than $300 (I'm pretty sure) on a guitar.

However -- if I **was** to spend $2,000-$3,000 on a guitar, instead of one like this...

...I'd rather get one like this...


Built by this guy.  Yes, they're for sale -- he has a whole range of them.


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Monday, May 19, 2014

Bruised hand

Thurday night at my Krav Maga class we practiced rolls and breakfalls.  Now, most of the things we do in class are either new to me, or so different to my previous martial arts experience that my old habits just mess me up.

But breakfalls and rolls?  Yep:  can do those.  Granted, it's been about ten years -- but I took a semester of Judo, and two semesters of Aikido -- and all you do in those styles are throw and be thrown.  So, a fair amount of practice.  :)

We started out by doing rear breakfalls -- like these:

And we spent 10-15 minutes doing them. 

My hands were getting kinda sore -- but I kept going.   They were especially sore around here:

Then, the next thing we did in class was practicing escapes from wrist grabs.  But the funny thing was, I couldn't grip with any strength with my right hand!  The pad of my hand -- the circled part -- is basically the thumb muscle.  So I could grab with my fingers -- but not my thumb.

It felt better the next day, though -- and by Sunday it felt fine.

But today is Monday -- and for some reason I was looking down at my hands at work, and I noticed this weird bruise:

(It was difficulty to get a good photograph of it.  It's more obvious in person.)

I don't think I've ever had a bruise like that.  Also, a little weird:  the **palm** of my hand was sore -- and yet the "web" gets the bruise.  Kinda like bumping your nose, and then ending up with a black eye.


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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three ways to add drama to your interactions

I'm toying with adding this to my behavior set:  when someone asks me a Yes/No question, or asks me the location of something (e.g. "Where's Mommy?"; "Where's my car keys?"), I'm considering responding like this:

I just thought of it today.  Will try it at work, and gauge people's reactions.

Or, not.


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Saturday, May 17, 2014


I guess everybody else in the world but me knows about the band Coldplay.

I'd heard the name, and YouTubed a few of their songs -- but I wasn't taken.

But then I heard the song "Viva la Viva", liked it, did a web search -- and then discovered that it was by Coldplay.

So then I read the Wikipedia page -- and discovered that they did the song "Clocks", and that backwards music video for "The Scientist".  Ah!  OK.  So I picked up their Viva la Vida or Death and All of His Friends album.  Pretty good.

It reminds me of in my youth, when my church youth group was on a road trip, and I listened to a Cars album -- probably Heartbeat City -- on cassette, on a friend's walkman.  With just about every song, I realized, "Ah!  This song I've been hearing on the radio -- it was by The Cars!"

It just takes me a while to pick up on these things.


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Friday, May 16, 2014

An open letter to Vanessa Veselka

An open letter to Vanessa Veselka:


I'll preface this by saying that I am a fan (lower-case "f") -- but I am not a "Fan" (upper-case; tinged with craziness).

Illustration:  I don't have all your lyrics memorized; I don't own any The Pinkos albums; I haven't read your novel (sorry:  nowadays I only read non-fiction -- mostly about guitars, recording techniques, and woodworking).  And I just don't have the time or the sense of focus to be an adequate stalker.  

And, of course, I now live in Australia.  Too far to telecommute.

However, I do very much enjoy the songs of your band Bell (1990s; Seattle).  I have all three of your albums.  And **somewhere** I have a CD where I dubbed the songs from your red demo cassette tape, the blue demo cassette tape, and your KGRG radio interview.

And I do end up wearing my red "Yeah, It's Rock" t-shirt about six times a year.  It depends on which end of the closet I start from.

Anyhow, I recently re-discovered my stash of Bell albums, in which you were the songwriter, guitarist, and singer (possibly in that order).  Back in the day my Bell CDs were in heavy rotation.  Since moving to Australia, however, they've slid out of sight -- partly because I no longer have music playing all the time around the house (The Lady prefers the quiet).

A few points:

-Although I was always wary of the classification "grunge" -- especially since the term was coined by someone outside the Seattle scene -- I never thought of your music as being within that genre.  But now, nearly 20 years later... OK, yeah:  I can see Bell as part of that larger "sound".

-It's a crying shame that -- for whatever reason -- you guys weren't as big as Nirvana (or at least Pearl Jam).  I don't get it.  (No, I don't get it; I don't, don't get it...)

-Your first album, A Clear Sense of Beauty, is a masterpiece.  I would say it has as many hits as Nirvana's Nevermind.  I particularly enjoy "Loose & Unsubdued", "Attempted Pop Song #1", and "Upon Greater Reflection".  "Upon Greater Reflection" is, in fact, on my (fairly long) list of "Songs to Cover".  One of these days.

-As of today, there are now at least two copies of A Clear Sense of Beauty in Australia:  mine, plus the one that I bought online to give to a co-worker who is my age and appreciates "1990s Seattle scene" music:  indoctrination.

-I typically list Bell as one of my Top 10 favorite bands or artists ever.  For comparison, the other bands are probably Buddy Holly, The Cars, Devo, The Ramones, They Might Be Giants, Material Issue, The Smithereens, Fountains of Wayne, Michael Penn, Regina Spektor, Laptop, Chromeo and Quiet Storm.  (Well, I'd have to trim some to make it **truly** "Top 10".  But it's indicative.)  I don't know if that's company you wish to keep; but hopefully it's complimentary. 

-Your Wikipedia page implies that you're no longer "doing music".  I just wanted to say -- as one songwriter to another -- that not everyone can write a good song.  Fewer still can manage to write **more** than one.  So, no matter what else you accomplish in life:  hey, you've achieved.  Nicely done.  :) 

-Finally:  Long ago, I said "Good songwriting."  (Examples: "I've thrown rubies to the sea" as imagery for futile watefulness:  sheer genius.  And rhyming it with "...but it all fell to debris":  who the heck uses "debris" in a rhyme scheme?  Well done.)  I'm just re-listening to A Clear Sense of Beauty in my CD-ROM drive on my laptop, through the built-in speakers (and subconsciously inferring the insubstantial bass  from memory...).   Good guitar playing, as well -- e.g. the massive string bends on "Transit". And the singing's good, of course. 

Hope all is well, and that you have a marvellous life.  :)

--Gye Greene (the pseudonym of an old fan)

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Being cool vs being hip

I could be wrong, but:

My interpretation is that being "hip" is about being consistent with the current fashions and trends -- at least among the "acclaimed" or "approved" groups.

Whereas being "cool" is being who you enjoy being, and following your own muse.

In which case:  I don't think I've ever been hip.  But I'd like to think that I'm cool.  :)



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review of movie Adventures in Zambezia

For our weekend "family movie night", we watched Adventures in Zambezia.

It takes place in Africa.  It's about a young hawk who rebels against his father to go follow other birds to some all-bird city calle Zambezia.

It's a computer-animated movied.

I dozed off and missed the middle bit:  for grown-ups it's a little slow and a little cliched.  But the kids said they enjoyed it.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Changing tastes

In my youth, I enjoyed oddball-sounding effects pedals for guitars -- ring modulators and the like.

But I was browsing YouTube this evening for demos of guitar effects pedals, and I realized that the oddball pedals don't appeal to me like they used to.  Maybe -- as I age -- I actually prefer things that sound pleasant, rather than jarring.  Or maybe I'm no longer worried about conformity:  I'm willing to have a "regular" guitar sound ("typical" distortion, flanger, phaser, chorus sounds).

On the other hand:  a few days ago I discovered, by accident, this interview with Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine.  Among other things, he discusses how he gets his odd sounds.

One of the things that I appreciate about his approach is that he trys to get interesting, unique sounds:  he says that most guitarists, when they first get a pedal, they turn all the knobs to the most extreme settings and revel in the joyous cacophony.  But then, once you're in a band setting, they tend to dial things back to better blend in with the rest of the band.  In contrast, he tries to keep things in the "joyful noise" zone.

Relevant insights start around 2:10, and again at 4:39.  Although I benefitted from the whole thing.

Also:  great quote at 5:40.  :)

Most  (or all?) of his guitar work in Rage Against the Machine is non-complex (although innovative and clever).  But, as shown in the segment starting at 18:00, he has the capacity to "shred" -- he (apparently) just chooses not to.

BTW, he also seems like a swell guy.  Although his voice is not at all what I expected it to sound like:  I'd always imagined him with a New York-y accent.